Danny Abeckaser is a man with a lot on his plate. Born in Israel and raised in Brooklyn, Abeckaser made a name for himself in the world of New York and LA nightclubs, starting out as a club promoter then going on to become an owner himself.
But Abeckaser also had a taste for Hollywood, and the astute entrepreneur began a film career that started with 2010’s critically acclaimed Holy Rollers, which charted the story of a group of NY Orthodox Jews turned drug smugglers. Since then, Abckaser’s star has continued to rise, culminating in the upcoming release of Club Life, his semi-autobiographical movie in which he serves as writer, producer and actor. The films stars Entourage’s Jerry Ferrara and Gossip Girl’s Jessica Szohr, in what’s sure to be a summer must-see.
Jspace recently caught up with Abeckaser to talk movies, Judaism and Hollywood.
How much of Club Life was taken from your own life experience and how much would you say is fictionalized?
The basics of the movie are from my real life, and how it begins with this young guy starting out and his father is sick and he’s sort of at a crossroads. But from there it gets fictionalized.
What made you decide to turn your personal experiences into a film?
I just thought there were some great stories here, and it would be something that appealed to people. I thought it would be great to get these stories out there.
What do you think audiences will love about this film?
There’s something for everyone with this film. And I think audiences are really going to enjoy seeing how the club life really happens, what goes into in. I think that’s something not everyone gets to see, the behind the scenes stuff.
How did you initially get involved in NY’s club scene?
We’re going back a lot of years now. I really got lucky. It was a lot of hard work but also I was really lucky. I just met the right people at the right time, and I was able to start promoting.
Some of your films like Don’t Mess with the Zohan and Holy Rollers have strong Israel and Jewish themes. Do you have a particular interest in projects that involve Israel and Judaism?
I am a Jew 100 percent and I’m passionate about showing everything that means. I’m out there to show Jews in a positive way.
You were a writer/producer/actor in this film. How involved were in setting the tone and creative process?
I was completely involved in the creative process. I was able to work with a lot of people that I already knew, that I had relationships with…so that’s always nice when you’re able to do that.
Do you have a preference between acting, writing and producing?
Probably acting. I had a teacher when I was younger say I shouldn’t be anything but an actor when I got older. I guess it’s something that always stuck with me.
Club Life hits theaters May 29 and is available May 26 via Video on Demand and iTunes. Find it at the iTunes store here.